When the curtain draws on the sold out, 22nd annual BCTIA Awards tonight in Vancouver it will reveal a tech industry that is feeling its oats.
A casual observer on the streets of Gastown or Mount Pleasant might have heard of the success stories Hootsuite or perhaps BuildDirect, but is probably not aware that British Columbia’s technology sector has quietly become a major factor in the overall economy of the province, employing more people than the oil and gas, mining, forestry sectors combined.
BCTIA President and CEO Bill Tam says the past few years are characterized by a newfound confidence that has promising companies looking to take their technology to the finish line, rather than sell off to a U.S. firm, as companies like Creo and Crystal Decisions did in years past.
“Over the past few years, B.C. has seen the rise of some of the hottest tech companies anywhere,” says Tam. “These companies have their sights on going the distance, with aspirations of being the next generation of tech anchor companies in Canada.”
Tonight’s awards, which will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, will feature eight categories, including “Most Promising Pre-Commercial Technology”, “Emerging Company of the Year”, and “Most Promising Startup”. A separate award will be presented to the “Person of the Year”, an individual “…who has made a significant contribution to the BC technology industry during the past year.”
The big award, “Company of the Year” will be a dogfight between three companies that are all gaining traction on the international stage.
Burnaby-based Cymax, an ecommerce platform focused on furniture sales, expects to top $180-million in sales this year, Gastown’s Global Relay has become a world leader in compliance messaging, archiving and message management. And Richmond’s Sierra Wireless, which one the award in 1999 and 2009, has been one of the best performing stocks on the TSX over the past three years.
Other past winners of the company of the year award include Avigilon, Macdonald Dettwiler, and QLT.